LIVE: Maharashtra sees 4,004 new Covid cases in 24 hrs; 1,530 in Delhi

Maharashtra is now left with 23,746 active cases after 3,085 patients were discharged on Sunday

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Covid, Coronavirus, Covid-19, Mumbai

A health worker collects swab sample of a passenger for COVID-19 test, at the CSMT station, in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)

Assam reeled under devastating floods caused by incessant rain affecting nearly 3.1 million people in 32 districts, while eight more people lost their lives on Saturday taking the toll to 63, officials said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to take stock of the situation. The CM also visited a few relief camps sheltering affected people in Kamrup and Darrang districts. A total of 1.89 million people were affected in 28 districts of the state on Friday.

Delhi recorded 1,534 new Covid cases and three more deaths on Saturday, while the positivity rate stood at 7.71 per cent, according to data shared by the city health department. On Friday, the national capital had logged 1,797 coronavirus cases, the highest in nearly four months, along with one fatality while the positivity rate had stood at 8.18 per cent.

A police vehicle was torched and two Uttar Pradesh Roadways buses vandalised in Jaunpur as the agitation against the Centre's Agnipath scheme spread in the state. Meanwhile, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers protested in Meerut over the issue. As many as 340 people have been arrested till now, including those who have been taken in custody as a preventive measure. In Kannauj, youths staged a protest at Saurikh on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway demanding the withdrawal of the scheme.
11:03 PM

483 train services cancelled Sunday due to protests against 'Agnipath'

As many as 483 train services were cancelled on Sunday due to protests in different parts of the country against the Centre's 'Agnipath' scheme for short-term recruitment in the armed forces.

According to officials, the railways cancelled 229 mail/express trains and 254 passenger trains due to the agitations. Additionally, eight mail/express trains were partially cancelled.

The railways' East Central Zone, which bore the brunt of the attacks by protesters, cancelled 29 trains connecting Kolkata and other places in West Bengal with the country's northern region, including the Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, on Sunday.

The railways has been a soft target of protesters and has suffered major loss of property due to arson and rioting.

With the government standing its ground on the 'Agnipath' scheme, the three services of the military on Sunday came out with a broad schedule of enrolment under the new policy and warned those who indulged in violence and arson will not be inducted.

There was a comparative lull after the stormy protests which rocked several states during the past four days including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Telangana, while peaceful agitations were held in several places.

11:02 PM

Air India mulls procuring over 200 new planes; 70% to be narrow-bodied jets

Tata Group-owned Air India is considering buying more than 200 new planes with 70 per cent of them being narrow-bodied aircraft, aviation industry sources said on Sunday.

While Air India has zeroed in on Airbus's A350 wide-bodied aircraft for the procurement, the talks with Airbus and Boeing for narrow-bodied aircraft is still on, they said.

A wide-bodied plane like Airbus A350 has a bigger fuel tank that allows it to travel longer distances such as the India-US routes.

Air India has not bought a single aircraft since 2006 when it placed orders for purchasing 111 aircraft 68 from the US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing and 43 from European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

The Tata Group took control of Air India on January 27 after successfully winning the bid for the airline on October 8 last year.

On the sidelines of 78th annual general meeting of International Air Transport Association, aviation industry sources said Air India is considering buying 200 new planes. The share of narrow-bodied aircraft to that of wide-bodied planes will be 70:30.

They said that the decision on which narrow-bodied plane to buy to go for Airbus A320 family aircraft or Boeing's 737Max aircraft is yet to be taken.

10:51 PM

BJP concludes Rajinder Nagar campaign with roadshow

The BJP topped its campaign in Rajinder Nagar bypoll with a roadshow on Sunday, 48 hours ahead of voting at the Assembly constituency, even as Union minister Smriti Irani was forced to miss it due to COVID.

Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi, party MP Manoj Tiwari, and state president Adesh Gupta helmed the roadshow which went across the area up for polls.

Irani who was a star campaigner of BJP in the bypoll, tweeted "I seek forgiveness of Rajinder Nagar people for not being able to attend the programme as my coronavirus report came positive. I appeal to Rajinder Nagar people to vote for Rajesh Bhatia and ensure victory of BJP."

The well-attended roadshow passed through many localities of the constituency with party workers and leaders holding flags and banners and urging locals to vote for Bhatia.

Lekhi said that eight years ago Rajinder Nagar was not only the cleanest and greenest area of Delhi with best roads, water power, sports, education infrastructure, Todapur, Dusghara, and Naraina here were model villages.

"During the last eight years due to neglect by two AAP MLAs the constituency today is in poor state. People of Rajinder Nagar have a choice between the local son of Rajinder Nagar from BJP, and the Aam Aadmi Party candidate who has come here after losing election," she said. 

10:48 PM

J-K records 32 new Covid cases

Jammu and Kashmir reported 32 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising its tally to 4,54,501, officials said.

While 17 cases were reported from the Jammu division, 15 infections were recorded from the Kashmir Valley, they said.

There are 163 active Covid cases in the Union Territory, while the number of recoveries has reached 4,49,586, the officials said.

The COVID-19 death toll stands at 4,752 in Jammu and Kashmir as no fresh fatality was reported in the last 24 hours, they said.

10:36 PM

Agnipath: Kerala police warns protesters

Amidst widespread protests in the country against the Centre's 'Agnipath', an army recruitment scheme, and calls for Bharat Bandh on June 20 by some organisations, Kerala police on Sunday said its entire force would be on duty to arrest anyone engaging in violence or destruction of public property.

State police chief (SPC) Anil Kant issued guidelines to the personnel to prevent violence against the public as well as forced closure of businesses, a release issued by the State Police Media Centre said.

The SPC directed district police chiefs to ensure protection to courts, KSEB offices, KSRTC, private buses as well as government offices and institutions on June 20, it said.

Besides that, police would also be putting up pickets and patrolling important locations from tonight, the release said.

It further said Kant directed the district police chiefs to coordinate the security arrangements through the Range DIGs and Regional IGs and that the Law Department has ordered strict action against those resorting to violence.

10:35 PM

No hurry, we don't want to get stuck with unviable plane: Vistara CEO on leasing Dreamliner

Vistara is in no hurry to lease B787 Dreamliner aircraft to expand international flight operations as it does not want to get stuck with a plane that cannot be used viably, its CEO Vinod Kannan said on Sunday.

For more than a year, Boeing has not delivered any B787 plane as the US Aviation regulator wants it to first make rectifications in aircraft production line.

Vistara had ordered six B787 planes in 2018 but it has got delivery of only two of those aircraft till date.

The lack of more wide-bodied B787 aircraft has hampered the airline's expansion of international flight operations.

Asked by when Vistara would like to have another Boeing 787 aircraft in its fleet, Kannan said, I would like to have it yesterday. But the facts are that these things do take time.

When you come up with a RFP (Request For Proposal) for a new aircraft, there are certain set of considerations.

When you are looking into the market for aircraft that are used, you need to be looking at different parameters what is the age of the aircraft? What are the engines' capacities?... It is a different set of considerations with which we have to go with our eyes open, he noted.

10:33 PM

Four terrorists killed in two encounters in Kashmir

Four terrorists, including two Pakistanis, were killed in two separate encounters with security forces on Sunday in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara and Kulgam districts, police said.

While two terrorists were killed in Kupwara as many were eliminated in Kulgam, they said, adding some more ultras are hiding and operations are underway in both the areas.

Security forces launched an anti-terrorist operation on the disclosure of an arrested terrorist, Showkat Ahmad Sheikh, in a forest area of Chandigam Lolab of Kupwara, in north Kashmir, a police spokesman said.

During the search of a hideout, the hiding terrorists started firing indiscriminately at the joint search party which was retaliated effectively leading to an encounter, he said.

In the initial exchange of fire, one terrorist was killed and the arrested terrorist leading the search party also got trapped, the spokesman said.

In the ensuing encounter, two Pakistani terrorists of proscribed terror outfit LeT were killed so far. Heavy exchange of fire is still going on and the operation is in progress, he added.

10:32 PM

CrPC 144 imposed, don't break law: Noida cops warn ahead of proposed Bharat Bandh on Monday

Amid a call for 'Bharat Bandh' on Monday over the Agnipath scheme, the Gautam Buddh Nagar police on Sunday reiterated that CrPC section 144 is imposed in the district and asked people to not engage in any activity which disrupts law and order.

The police's appeal came even as a group of ex-servicemen submitted a memorandum with authorities demanding strict against anti-social elements involved in the violence during protests against Centre's new scheme for recruitment of soldiers in the Army, Navy and Air Force.

So far, 225 people have been booked and 15 arrested in connection with the violent protest at the Jewar toll plaza on the Yamuna Expressway in Greater Noida on Friday.

Eight police personnel and a bus driver were injured in the violence, according to officials.

CrPC Section 144 prohibits assembly of four or more people

Additional Deputy Commissioner (Law and Order) Ashutosh Dwivedi on Sunday said several anti-social elements have mixed with aspirants of armed forces during the protests against the Agnipath scheme to disrupt law and order and vitiate atmosphere across Uttar Pradesh.

10:27 PM

Assam's COVID-positivity rate at 4.13%

Assam reported nine new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the National Health Mission (NHM) said.

The new cases were detected after testing 218 samples, registering a positivity rate of 4.13 per cent, an NHM bulletin said.

All the nine new cases were detected in Kamrup Metropolitan district, comprising primarily the Guwahati city.

The state has reported 7,24,348 COVID-19 cases so far. Of them, 7,16,256 patients have recovered.

There are 104 active cases in the state at present.

10:14 PM

Don't like 'Agnipath' scheme? Don't join armed forces: V K Singh slams protesters

Amid violence over the 'Agnipath' scheme, Union minister and former Army chief General V K Singh (retd) on Sunday slammed the protesters saying if they don't like the new policy for recruitment into the armed forces they shouldn't opt for it.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event in Maharashtra's Nagpur city, Singh said the Indian Army doesn't conscript soldiers and that aspirants can join of their own volition.

"Joining the Army is voluntary and not a compulsion. If any aspirant wants to join, he can join as per his will, we don't conscript soldiers. But if you don't like this recruitment scheme ('Agnipath') then don't come to (join). Who is asking you to come? You are burning buses and trains. Who told you that you will be recruited into the armed forces. You will be selected only if you fulfil the eligibility criteria," he said.

He also hit out at the Congress over party leader Priyanka Gandhi's statement against the Agnipath scheme and alleged that the grand old party is finding fault with even the best work of the Modi government as it is upset with Rahul Gandhi's questioning by the ED.

Replying to a question over Priyanka Gandhi's statement made earlier in the day in Delhi that the Agnipath scheme will destroy the youth as well as the army, Singh said, "Congress is upset because Rahul Gandhi is being questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Hence, the party finds fault with even the best of the best work of the government."

"The Opposition, particularly the Congress, is trying to mislead the youngsters. The only work that the Opposition is left with is to criticise and stop any government schemes. They want to create unrest in the country to defame the government," he said.

10:12 PM

Karnataka reports 623 COVID-19 cases, 1 death

Karnataka on Sunday clocked 623 fresh COVID-19 cases and one death, taking the caseload to 39,60,831 and fatalities to 40,071 respectively, the health department said.

The day also saw 412 people being discharged, taking the total number of recoveries to 39,15,683. Active cases in the state stood at 5,035, a health department bulletin said.

Bengaluru Urban accounted for the maximum number of 588 cases, it said.

Other districts too reported new COVID-19 cases including 13 in Dakshina Kannada, six in Mysuru, four each in Udupi and Uttara Kannada, and two in Bengaluru Rural.

The lone death due to COVID-19 on Sunday occurred in Belagavi district while 19 districts in the state reported zero infections and zero deaths.

A total of 23,170 samples were tested in the state, including 17,466 using RT-PCR method, taking the cumulative number of specimens examined to 6.67 crore.

The number of vaccinations against COVID-19 done in the state rose to 11.08 crore, with 10,382 people being inoculated on Sunday, it said.

10:05 PM

Six Baloch militants killed in clashes in Pakistan

At least six Baloch militants were killed on Sunday in clashes with Pakistan's security forces in the country's restive Balochistan province.

The forces were tipped off about their presence in the Central Makran mountain range and they launched an operation to arrest them, according to a statement by the Army.

However, the terrorists tried to escape from their hideout while firing on the security forces, resulting in the killing of six terrorists in the exchange of fire.

The rebels, part of the outlawed Balochistan Liberation Front, were involved in attacks on the post of the security forces and also in the recent roadside bombing in Proom and Panjgur areas, the Army said.

Arms and ammunition were also recovered, which were intended to be used by the terrorists for disrupting peace and security in the area, it said.

Baloch nationalist militants are active in the province and frequently target the security forces. They blame the federal government of neglecting the province while depriving it of its mineral wealth.

10:04 PM

They shot him multiple times: Brother-in-law of Sikh man killed in Kabul attack

My brother-in-law was taking a bath when he was fatally shot multiple times, said a kin of the Afghan Sikh man who is among the two persons killed in a terror attack on a gurudwara in Kabul.

Several blasts tore through Gurdwara Karte Parwan in Kabul's Bagh-e Bala neighbourhood on Saturday while Afghan security personnel thwarted a bigger tragedy by stopping an explosive-laden vehicle from reaching the place of worship of the minority community.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it "an act of support" for the Prophet.

In Delhi, family members of Sawinder Singh were mourning the loss of a loved one, as they struggled to put behind the horrid images of attack.

While Singh's wife was inconsolable, her brother Pupender Singh, 36, shared the sequence of events he pieced together.

"My brother-in-law ran a shop and offered 'sewa' at the Gurdwara Karte Parwan, and also lived in a room on its premises. I got a call yesterday morning from my younger brother who lives in Kabul that the gurudwara had been attacked. He along with his friend was on his way to Jalalabad, when they told the taxi driver to take them back to Kabul," he said.

9:58 PM

Agnipath protests: Section 144 imposed in Jaipur

Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC have been imposed in the Jaipur police commissionerate area on Sunday in the wake of the protests against the Centre's Agnipath scheme for soldiers' recruitment for four years.

Ajaypal Lamba, Additional Commissioner of Jaipur Police, issued the orders to impose section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) from 6 pm on Sunday to midnight of August 18.

He said there is a possibility of disturbance to law and order due to the protests.

All kinds of rallies, dharnas, demonstrations, and public meetings without prior permission will be banned, Lamba said.

It has also been directed that no one should circulate provocative messages on social media which may lead to law and order issues.

Action will be taken against those found violating the orders, he said.

9:57 PM

Prophet row protests: 421 arrested, 20 FIRs registered in UP

The Uttar Pradesh Police has arrested 421 people and registered 20 FIRs so far in connection with the violent protests that erupted in the state over now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma's remarks on Prophet Mohammad.

Violence broke out in Kanpur on June 3 and in nine other districts of the state on June 10 after protests against Sharma's remarks during a TV debate spun out of control.

At least 40 people, including 20 police personnel, were injured in the violence in Kanpur.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar on Sunday said a total of 421 people have been arrested and 20 FIRs registered in 10 districts so far in connection with the violence on June 3 and June 10.

Seven FIRs have been registered in Prayagraj, three each at Kanpur Police Commissionerate and in Saharanpur, and one each in Firozabad, Aligarh, Hathras, Moradabad, Ambedkarnagar, Kheri and Jalaun, he said.

The ADG said 103 people have been arrested in Prayagraj, 85 in Saharanpur, 58 in Kanpur, 55 in Hathras, 41 in Ambedkarnagar, 40 in Moradabad, 20 in Firozabad, eight in Kheri, six in Aligarh and five in Jalaun.

9:55 PM

Violence against Agnipath subsides in Bihar; over 800 arrested so far

Violent protests against Agnipath scheme for defence recruitment appeared to be on the wane in Bihar on Sunday as a police crackdown on troublemakers continued and train services remained hit in view of security concerns.

According to a statement issued by Police Headquarters, altogether 804 people have been arrested so far in connection with the large scale violence and arson, which had the state in its throes last week.

The number of FIRs registered in connection with the protests stood at 145 and tracing of persons suspected of instigating or indulging in anti-social activities contimnued.

Internet services remain suspended in 17 out of 38 districts in the state and heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces continued in places, the PHQ release said.

In the afternoon, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar summoned Chief Secretary Amir Subhani and DGP S K Singhal to his residence to seek updates on the situation, highly placed sources said.

9:48 PM

Yellen: Recession not inevitable, gas tax holiday weighed

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that she expects the US economy to slow in the months ahead, but that a recession is not inevitable.

Yellen offered a dose of optimism even as economists grow increasingly worried about a recession fuelled by skyrocketing inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

She also expressed an openness, during an interview on ABC's This Week, to a federal gas tax holiday to help give motorists some relief at the pump. Several lawmakers have floated the idea as the average price of gasoline hovers around $5 per gallon; the tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.

That's an idea that's certainly worth considering, Yellen said when asked if the administration is weighing it. She added that President Joe Biden wants to do anything he possibly can to help consumers.

And Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said it's one of the tools, but told CNN's State of the Union that part of the challenge with the gas tax, of course, is that it funds the roads.

Yellen said overall consumer spending in the United States remains strong, while noting that spending patterns are changing, given the impact of rising food and energy prices. Yellen said household savings during the coronavirus pandemic will help sustain spending.

The national saving rate has fallen to about 6%, below pre-pandemic levels, after reaching 16.6% in 2020, the highest on record dating to 1948, and 12.7% in 2021.

I expect the economy to slow, Yellen said. It's been growing at a very rapid rate and the economy has recovered and we have achieved full employment. We expect a transition to steady and stable growth, but I don't think a recession is at all inevitable.

9:37 PM

US to donate 2.2 mn pediatric Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal

The US has pledged to donate 2.2 million doses of pediatric vaccines to Nepal to help it combat the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an official announcement on Sunday.

The donation coincides with the celebrations of 75 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Nepal, the US Embassy here said in a statement.

These highly effective, life-saving vaccines for children ages 5-11 are provided through the generosity of the American people and add to the 2.26 million doses of Pfizer vaccines, and the 1.5 million single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines that the US has donated to Nepal so far, it said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the United States government has worked directly with the Government of Nepal to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, ensure the continuity of critical health services, and support the country in mitigating the pandemic's secondary social and economic impact particularly on education and livelihoods, according to the statement.

9:35 PM

Prophet row: Muslim body protests in UP's Bareilly, demands Nupur Sharma's arrest

The Ittehad-e-Millat Council staged a demonstration in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly on Sunday demanding the arrest of now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her remarks on Prophet Mohammad.

Addressing the gathering, its president Maulana Taukeer Raza Khan flayed Sharma for her remarks and demanded her arrest.

He alleged that the government was not paying any heed to their demands, including Sharma's arrest.

"We will not give a memorandum of our demands to the district administration, government or governor. If we have to give a memorandum, we will approach the United Nations organisation," he said.

The council had planned the demonstration on Friday, but postponed it to Sunday.

Elaborate security arrangements were made for the demonstration at the Islamia College ground.

Khan also demanded rollback of the Agnipath scheme for short-term contractual employment in the armed forces.

9:27 PM

Domestic coal production as of June 16 up by 28% YoY

The Ministry of Coal on Sunday said that as of June 16, coal production by Coal India Ltd (CIL) is 28 per cent more than its production last year in the same period. The domestic coal production target for the current financial year is 911 MT which is 17.2 per cent more than the previous year.

Due to this, coal imports for blending by the domestic coal based (DCB) power plants have dropped to 8.11 MT in the year 2021-22, which has been the lowest coal import in the last eight years.

The imported coal based (ICB) power plants had imported coal more than 45 MT per year from 2016-17 to 2019-20. However, coal import by the ICB power plants dropped to the lowest level of 18.89 MT in 2021-22 and the generation from these plants also dropped to 39.82 billion units (BU) in the year 2021-22 compared to 100+ BU which these plants have been generating since quite some time.

In the last five years, the coal-based power generation has grown at a CAGR of 1.82 per cent whereas the domestic coal supply to power sector had grown at a CAGR of 3.26 per cent. Thus, coal supply to power sector has outpaced the growth in coal-based power generation and continues to do so in the present year.

The Ministry said that the coal production is at 777 Million Tonne (MT) in 2021-22. The domestic coal production continues to witness an upward trend in the current financial year as well.


First Published: Jun 19 2022 | 07:53 AM IST

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